Louisa May Alcott: Rose in Bloom

Chapter 19. BEHIND THE FOUNTAIN (continued)

"No, thanks. I shall be at church this afternoon, and the oratorio this evening. I must be off early in the morning, so let me make the most of precious time and come home with you tonight as I did before," answered Archie, making his best bow, and quite sure of consent.

"You may." And Phebe vanished, closing the door softly, as if she found it hard to shut out so much love and happiness as that in the heart of the sedate young gentleman who went briskly down the street humming a verse of old "Clyde" like a tuneful bass viol:

"Oh, let our mingling voices rise
In grateful rapture to the skies,
Where love has had its birth.

Let songs of joy this day declare
That spirits come their bliss to share
With all the sons of earth."

That afternoon Miss Moore sang remarkably well, and that evening quite electrified even her best friends by the skill and power with which she rendered "Inflammatus" in the oratorio.

"If that is not genius, I should like to know what it is?" said one young man to another as they went out just before the general crush at the end.

"Some genius and a great deal of love. They are a grand team, and, when well driven, astonish the world by the time they make in the great race," answered the second young man with the look of one inclined to try his hand at driving that immortal span.

"Daresay you are right. Can't stop now she's waiting for me. Don't sit up, Mac."

"The gods go with you, Archie."

And the cousins separated one to write till midnight, the other to bid his Phebe good-bye, little dreaming how unexpectedly and successfully she was to earn her welcome home.

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